Selling Strategically

At some point in all of our lives we have to sell something.  A glass of lemonade from the stand in the front yard. A car that has outlived its life with you.  Or yourself to that prospective date.

Most of us know what to sell.  Yet few of us consider how to sell. Selling strategically is how business is developed.  Ben knows how to do this and do it well.

Ben Buono will tell you that sales and marketing are intertwined.  And so are operations, finance and just about every aspect of your company.

“Everyone in your company is involved in sales,” Ben is known to say. And in his experience, it is true.

“Whether it is a Fortune 100 or a smaller local business, everyone in the company plays a role in sales,” Ben said.

Ben is responsible for new business development for New Paradigm Advisors. Yet his role goes beyond that of finding business for his fellow consultants at New Paradigm Advisors.  He is also available to our clients to help them set appropriate sales strategies, goals, and targets.

“Unless your enterprise has an effective sales strategy tied to an integrated marketing plan that is part of your business plan,” Ben said, ”your company can stagnate.”

When he worked for Arrow Electronics, Ben nurtured relationships and grew business for clients that included Microsoft, Intel, McAfee, Advantech, Kontron and SuperMicro, to name a few.

“At the end of the day it was about trust,” Ben said.  “Trust, not only in the solutions I brought to a need they had, but trust in me and my company to deliver and support the products.”

This philosophy is also at the heart of how New Paradigm Advisors does business.  Trust comes first with us, we believe, and the sales will follow.  Not only for us, but for our clients.

To take the next steps in shaping your business, please contact Ben or our team.

The Most Important Resource

“People are our most important product,” the old advertising campaign extolled.

But how many really believe that statement?  And it was made long before entrepreneur Richard Branson said that it was most important to treat your employees as if they were your number one customer.

Platitudes aside, being able to boast about your company’s employees as a key resource has to be more than just words.

Just ask Nancy Canada.

“Saying your people are your most important resource has to be more than words if you want to have a successful enterprise of any size,” Nancy said. “Your people really are your business.”

Nancy should know.  She is an accredited human resources professional and knows how to evaluate and place talent. During her 20-plus years at GuideStone Financial Resources she not only found the talent (as a recruiter), she trained and developed key staff. And because it was a financial services company, she earned her Series 6 and 63 licenses along the way.

In addition, Nancy is certified with John Maxwell and CliftonStrengths (formerly Strengths Finder) as a coach.

“Taking stock and evaluating your human resource will help you not only keep people, but advance them and grow your company,” Nancy said. “That’s why tools like CliftonStrengths are so critical to the management and growth of a company.”

What’s this mean to you as a business owner?  It means that human resource management is more than hiring and firing people.  It is about curating the talent you do have and keeping up with trends affecting your business.

And just like your finances, maybe you should turn over your human resources function to a professional who does this for a living.  It might save you time and money and maybe lead to an increase in your company’s value.

“Finding talent is one thing,” Nancy said. “Keeping it, is quite another thing.”

If you truly want to understand and build value in your company, contact us.  We can help you develop that resource that is already under your roof the right way.


*photos courtesy of Upsplash, rawpixel and Dylan Nolte

Follow the Money

Years ago, a friend was asked how he ended up with a million-dollar business.  The reply:

“Start with two million!”

Seriously, the financial aspects of your business are so critical to your success of your company.  While they aren’t the only aspect of the business to keep an eye on or be concerned with, they are critical.

Just ask Michael Visentine.  Michael is New Paradigm Advisors resident financial expert.

“From the time you do your first market analysis to setting up your books to making payroll the first time, you really can’t ever know enough about your company’s finances,” Michael said.

Michael should know.  He’s been a financial analyst, strategic planner and COO for several significant businesses.  He’s worked in the telecommunications, printing and food service industries.

“The biggest mistake most small business owners make is trying to do it yourself,” Michael continued. “Some things are just better left to those skilled in the craft.”

If you aren’t trained in bookkeeping, you can easily overlook entries and not understand tax deductions.  You could get your company–and yourself– in big trouble. And you might not set the whole system up right in the first place.

“Those two issues are probably the first things to consider right up there with mixing personal and business spending.  That’s a common problem with many family-owned businesses.

Then there is not backing up your data.

“Not having an adequate IT system and having it archive thing for you can lead to bigger issues,” Michael said.

Your financial systems are key to understanding your business as well as serving as the underpinnings of the company.

For more information on how to set up your company’s financial systems or have your current system evaluated, give us a call.  Not calling might add up to the wrong answer.


*photos courtesy of rawpixel on Upsplash


The Brains of the Operation

Remember that kids’ game Operation?  You know, the one with tools and things placed around the plastic operating table. One false move and – BUZZ—you lost!

So, it can be with your business.  Unless you have your operating systems in place, things could go south really quickly. Perhaps it might help to have the right “surgeon” or specialist around to make sure things stay on course?

Call in the Cavalry

If you are struggling with your company’s direction, value or purpose, why not bring in an expert?

Jay Prestipino is our resident “fixer” here at New Paradigm Advisors.  An Entrepreneurial executive with a background in sales, alliance management, channel development, marketing, operations and finance, Jay has worked for some of the largest telecom and financial services companies in the world.

Applying Skills and Experience

“It is so satisfying to be about to apply my skills to a business in need,” Jay said.  “No matter the size of the company, the principles I’ve learned and implemented in my past work life can be applied, and applied with great results.”

A veteran of Nortel, Jay forged relationships with key suppliers and partners, developed and implemented financial systems and strategies and directed the development of new business.

Playing An Internal Role

Jay works with our clients in a variety of roles, many times as an interim C-level executive, director or manager.  This helps him get steeped in the business and also ensures that the client has an internal sounding board that is not on the permanent payroll.

“Our goal is to to help ‘right the ship,’ and many times that takes standing on the same deck as the client,” Jay continued. “The best way to help a business is to be in the business next to the client.”

Are You Chained to Your Business?

Many business leaders are chained to their business.  Breaking those chains, looking for ways to increase the company’s value, and helping those leaders build a fabulous future is the role Jay and his team bring our clients.

If you’re looking for that hidden value in your enterprise, contact us for those next steps you need to take.



*Upsplash photos by Rawpixel and Natanael Melchor


Who Owns Who?

Who owns who?  We say it about our dogs, our houses and certainly, if you are a business owner, your business.

It goes without saying that if you have a commitment and a passion for your business, it takes time and effort.  Lots of both.


To get a real perspective, you really should talk with someone who has started, owned and sold businesses.  And it doubly helps when that guy also happens to be a consultant to business owners.

We turned to our own Dave Sykes to talk about this topic.  Dave has started, built, owned and managed, and, ultimately sold businesses. As our Founder and Principal Consultant, he started New Paradigm Advisors with the intent of helping others who were going through the same things he has already experienced.  The idea was to save them some of the pain and get to where they want to go that much sooner.


Dave has over 40 years’ experience leading organizations in conceiving, planning and implementing dynamic business initiatives. These initiatives ultimately drive accountable business practices, incremental growth and bottom-line results. From construction to food services to entertainment, Dave has touched many of the best, and worst, examples of business.

This puts Dave in a position to advise business owners from a peer-to-peer position.


“Business founders and owners are a special breed,” Dave said.  “No one knows their business better than they do.  And few can relate to the challenges they are facing on a day-to-day basis.”

That’s what sets New Paradigm Advisors apart—the depth and breadth of their experience.

Breaking Chains

“Many business leaders are chained to their business,” Dave continued.  “We break those chains, look for ways to increase the company’s value, and help them build a fabulous future.”

If you’ve forged a chain that needs to be broken, contact us for those next steps you need to take.

Why Do I Need a Consultant?

Business can be complicated.  Sure, you know the core offering of your company—you either invented it, bought it or offer services you created.  At any rate, you do know your business.

But not all of it.  Maybe not its value or future. And can you be free from it?

That’s where a consultant comes in.  An outside set of eyes and ears that give you the perspective you need to help shape and sort out your business. And beyond the extra eyes, it’s the extra manpower—the people power with the specialized skills to get something done on time.

A Distinct Advantage

Whatever the reason, hiring a consultant gives you a distinct advantage, I usually tell clients. And that is to be able to work on your business rather than in your business.

“On?” “In?” What are we talking about?

Most business owners are so focused on the day-to-day operation of their enterprises that they forget to step back and see the bigger picture.

Freedom,Value, Future

That’s the principal that we founded New Paradigm Advisors on.  It is about freedom, value and, ultimately, future.  Our company was founded on the simple belief that many business leaders are chained to their business.  We break those chains, increase company value, and help them build a fabulous future.

Break What Chains?

As a business owner, many times you are chained to the business because you ARE the business.  We help free you to work “on” the business by setting up systems, checks and balances and opportunities for growth and expansion of your business.  We use tools like EOS to help you shape your organization and find ways to do things like “you-proofing” you company.  You can then take that next step into the value.

 Why Value?

You need to be able to establish the value of your business.  Knowing the value of your company makes subsequent assessment that much easier.  Whether that is hard assets or intangible assets, every company has a value.  In our case, we use the Value Builders System to assess a company’s value and help you maximize that value.

Whose Future?

Yes, the future. Once you’re set free from unnecessary restraints, have a handle on the value of your company, it comes down to building a future—not just for the company, but you, the founder and primary owner.

That future means continuing to build and grow a company for the next owner or generation and giving you options for your “third act.”

Why New Paradigm Advisors?

So, why hire a consultant?  Just as you would hire a specialist to paint your house or manage your finances, so you should hire professionals that know this pathway.

That’s where we come in. We’ve been through this before we a seasoned team and proven systems, like Value Builders. Why not start there. All that is at stake is the future.


*photos courtesy of Upsplash contributing photographers Ryoji Iwata and rawpixel

Finish the Year Strong

If you are a runner, it’s the last few hundred yards of a race.

If you are a teacher, it’s about having all of your students pass.  And with more than just passing grades.

If you are a business owner, it’s about hitting your goals and having a great fourth quarter.

In other words, finish strong.

Where do I start?

Do you remember when the year started and you had visions of unparalleled growth and success?  What happened?  Along the way you and your team got stuck “working in the business” just trying to stay afloat … your big prospect did not sign the contract or your largest customer had some unplanned changes or your team just got busy with day-to-day activities.

Don’t get discouraged. The wherewithal is within easy reach. It is about being honest, being ready, keeping score and taking action.

Here’s an easy list to get you started

  1. Assess where you are. Be honest about your current state.  Find out what is not working and what is working.  Once you know where you are, you can move forward in confidence.
  2. Revisit your “why”. Why do you do this every day?  Why is this important?  Look at your mission, values and vision.  Review your goals for the year.  It’s important to know where you are going.
  3. Focus on what you can get done by end of the year. Get your team together and regroup. Think creatively on how to accomplish the most important goals & objectives.  You might be surprised by you and your team can do in the last few months.
  4. Take action and keep each other accountable. Encourage and challenge each other to accomplish their goals.  During your team meetings, use your scorecard to review goals and measure progress.  What help do you need to accomplish your goals?  How can you help others to accomplish their goals?
  5. Commit to your own well-being. Your no good to the team if you are not 100%.  Make a personal plan to be eat right, get enough rest, practice some type of fitness, unwind from work and finally connect with others.

 It is all about working “on the business” and not working “in the business”.  Look up and know your team, know your customers and know your business. If you have a handle on your business all year around, you will be able to handle the fourth quarter with more skill and direction.


It is all right there in front of you! Go finish strong and break the tape with a new personal record.



*photos courtesy of Upsplash photographers Martini Zemlickis and NeONBRAND

Recapturing Your First Love

We’ve all had a car we’ve loved then fell out of love with.  It just didn’t fit your style anymore.  It wasn’t the right color.  Or it just didn’t feel right anymore.

I remember a time when I wanted to sell a car I had been in love with but had grown tired of.

Time for a change

While I’d always maintained the car and kept it really clean, I figured out that I should probably do a complete detailing on it if I wanted it to show well.

So I spent several hours on a weekend, cleaning it top to bottom. In addition to hand washing and waxing, I shampooed the carpets, cleaned all of the nooks and cranies inside and out.  I even ran a rag, toothpick, and pipe cleaner through all the air conditioning ducts and vents. Spray washed the engine compartment and cleaned all the dirt out of there.

When it was all done, I had one bright, shinny almost new looking car.

I thought, well, since it looks this good, I may as well drive it a few more days. As it turned out, I was so much more pleased with it (proud of it?) I ended up keeping it.

Maybe all I needed was a fresh perspective

Now why do I tell you this story? Well, I recently had a friend of mine essentially do this with his company. He had been approached to be merged with a larger firm and after taking a close look at his 20-year-old company, he decided to clean up a few things.

And along the way, he got re-engaged and reminded of why he started the business in the first place and recharged his passion for it. He withdrew from the merger discussions and recommitted his energy in the business he loved. Now after 2 years, he is growing better than he had in the previous few years.

And loving it again.


How does this story apply to you?

When was the last time you thought about re-engaging in your company? Doing something besides the hum drum of day-to-day work?

What do you need to do to regain your passion? Do you think it’s time to breakout the wash bucket and the wax and maybe even the rags, toothpicks and pipe cleaners?

It’s a good way to get back to your first love. Re-learn why you started this business in the first place.

If you don’t know where to start, we can help. We’ve been there, done that and did the clean up. We are excited to be able to help you take it to the next level.


Need help finding the buckets, rags and cleaning tools for your company?  Start with this quiz to help build a checklist.

Are You Dressed Appropriately to Go to the Dance?

In a recent post, I talked about asking your favorite managers or leaders about their interest in having ownership in your company.

Have you followed up on that?

Your current management leaders are definitely legitimate future buyers of your company, so don’t leave them out of your planning.

Who else should you be looking at and where are you going to find them?  Are you dressed appropriately to “go to the dance?”

What’s It Worth?

Well let’s back up (again) and let’s start with the question of, “What’s it worth?”

We’re not going to launch into a long treatise about valuations and market analysis. This is going to be far more simple. It’s all based on a simple truth:  your company is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

Well duh!

Overly simplistic, I know, but let’s peel this apart before you discount such a simple basis.

You can do all the research about EBITDA and multiples you want.  However, if you don’t have a qualified buyer with a high interest in your company, nothing matters. It doesn’t matter that your bank loves you. It doesn’t matter that your industry typically sells for 3 or 4 or 10 times multiple. You’ve got to find a buyer who has the money and the interest to stay engaged with you all the way to signing an agreement and giving you a check.

What About Your Formation Agreements?

Now before you think this is way too simple and obvious, let me ask you a question: When was the last time you took a look at your formation documents? Your Buy Sell Agreement? Last year? Five years ago? Maybe not even since you formed the company? You might want to pull that out and look at it.

In two cases recently, we’ve observed owners shocked at the glaring hole in their desired transition plan caused by the limits set forth in their formation agreement. In one case with two owners, the retiring owner would receive nothing upon retirement except his pro-rata share of any projects that were invoiced as of the date of his retirement. In the other case, it was assumed that the owner who was remaining in the business would simply either write a personal check for a percentage of a recent official valuation or he would finance it either personally or through the company. Nothing in the formation documents required this. And in both cases, the hard discussion with both groups started with, “No one owes anyone anything.”

Be Sure and Value the Relationship

In both cases, there are long-term, very close and meaningful relationships that would be ruined if this was really the end result. But, it drives home the point, that your expected buyer may not be under any obligation to pay you what you think you deserve. So, what do you do?

Are You Ready to Start the Buyout Process?

First, begin working on your buyout as early as possible. If you’re thinking of retiring or your partner is going to retire in the next five or so years, now is the time to pull out all of your documentation and find out what, if any, legal obligation everyone has. If it’s like the first case above: you’ll have time to write up an exit plan or buyout for everyone that is equitable and doable over the coming years. This also sets up the remaining partner to understand what he or she is going to want to explain and demand of any future owner he brings on board.

Do You Need to Look Outside the Organization?

Second, if you’re looking outside of your organization for a buyer, you’ve got to get a haircut, shave, take a shower, shine your shoes, buy a new suit and really dress yourself up so you will be the best looking person at the dance. The dance called “the acquisition dance.” What do I mean by that? I bet you already know. If you don’t, well, you at least know you can call us and we’ll help you do that. It’s going to take a lot of effort and a good deal of time. But if you want to be the winner at the acquisition dance, you can’t go looking like you have for the last several years. It’s time to make some changes.

Even if you’re more than five or ten years away from transitioning to your third act, by getting ready now, you’ll be making more money in the interim period and you’ll be worth far more in the end.

Call us. Let us help get you dressed up.


First thing to do to make sure you’re dressed for the dance, take a look in the mirror: Click here to see what you look like.

Staying Focused

Have you ever had the experience with someone who couldn’t stay focused on the “main thing?”

Someone who seems to always be chasing the next shiny thing?

My experience with these folks is that they’re extremely hard to dissuade from their track – as wild and haphazard that it is.
Recently, I was involved in a business venture with several folks where the leader was the classic squirrel chaser  (do I need to define that for you?). Of course, I didn’t recognize it at first because the original venture plan was very focused and straight forward. But, as time went on, it became more and more apparent that the original plan was not so concrete after all. We were constantly being presented with new, very attractive opportunities. However,  upon closer examination, were way off the original stated company objectives. The focus became searching for the next opportunity for mail box money as opposed to finding prospects and customers for the original stated purpose of the business.

This constant “re-focus” began to create frustration among the partners and key stake holders. So much so, several of us felt our efforts and investment would be better spent elsewhere. The classic case of cut your losses short.
One of the most telling moments in this scenario was when this leader was confronted in a meeting with a challenge to his interest in the next shiny thing. The comment was made that if we were to focus on that new thing, we would be taking our focus off the main thing – or the reason we had established the company. The actual comment was, “If we say yes to that, we’ll be saying no to our core purpose.” A classic statement of focus and purpose.
Shockingly, the leader disputed this axiom calling it false and not applicable. That we could do many things for many different customers – not just our core, original purpose.

Needless to say, that was the beginning of the end of this venture. Several stake holders started peeling away.

  • How are you at staying true to your main purpose?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your core purpose in business?
  • Have you been at it so long that you don’t remember what it is?

An alternative way to look at this is: “The question isn’t what we’re going to do; the question is, what are we NOT going to do?”

Are your people confident that when they come in everyday – the company focus is the same? It’s not constantly shifting is it? Are you?
Having a very clear goal or “main thing” that the entire company is focused on is critical to a thriving, successful company and a strong, cohesive team. Without it, you can’t create a viable marketing plan. Without it, you can’t identify your ideal customer. If your main thing is muddy or constantly changing, I can guarantee that your company is not coming anywhere close to reaching its true worth. I can also guarantee that your people are frustrated and just short of leaving you.
So – how’s your focus? As you strategize and plan for the new year, are you saying yes to too many things? Are you able to say no to the shiny things that distract you?

Stay focused.  Call me.  I can help with that.